COVID-19 Survival Guide: Patience

Ann StrombergAnn Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor

Patience

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Joyce Meyer

In theory, the art of being patient appears to be the simple act of waiting for the desired results. The reality is patience is a hard skill to master. Patience is learning to take time to allow things to happen, and that is what makes it difficult. 

We live in a world of instant gratification. We have become accustomed to having the ability to get what we need with a few clicks on the computer or phone. Our devices keep us connected to everyone and everything in our lives. Most of us have lost our ability to be patient. We recognize the importance of patience and learning to delay gratification, and we spend hours teaching our children to be patient and gracious while waiting. Yet it is so easy to forget the skill we learned early in life.  

Taking the time to allow things to occur allows us to take time to think it through, to develop a strategy to meet the challenge ahead. Fine-tuning our patience skills takes effort and strength. We use patience to move through life in a more mindful state of being.  

Being mindful leads to more productive efforts when facing a challenging task. We are faced with impatient people every day, people rushing around unaware of the fact their surroundings. Impatient people are usually more irritable and difficult to be around, much like an inpatient child who has not mastered patience yet. Rushing through life typically leads to less productive activity and wastes more energy. 

Taking time to meet a challenge with a well thought out strategy usually helps us be more productive. Imagine the people you want to spend time with. Finding ways to strengthen our patience skills takes time and is a skill that we need to continue to cultivate as we move through life. It has been shown that people with strong patience skills have a more positive outlook on life, have less depression and anxiety, and overall better mental health. Patient people are more mindful and better at coping with challenges.  

Developing strategies for improving our patience starts with acknowledging the need to be patient. Being mindful of our abilities and limitations helps to keep our expectations realistic. When facing a challenge, take time to plan a strategy to move through the process. One big stumbling block we create for ourselves is placing an unrealistic time frame on our challenge. Regardless of the current task, making a career change, looking for a new position, or any challenge we face, look at your time frame, and extend the allotted time. Everything takes longer then we plan, and we always give ourselves too little time, and we become frustrated. 

Before beginning any project, take time to plan out each step and then go back and add time to each step. The additional time allows the task to be more enjoyable, and we are more mindful as we complete each step. There is never any disappointment when a project takes less time to complete than expected. Start today to evaluate your biggest challenge and take some time to look at each step and look for ways to create a more thoughtful and realistic time frame. Sometimes we need to slow down to get our desired results faster.

COVID-19 Survival Guide: Choosing Kindness

2020 has presented us with many challenges that test our patience and break our hearts. Once again, we as a society are faced with the disgusting practices of racism and social injustice. Hatred is a vile emotion that has been the source of suffering for citizens for decades. While we are not debating solutions here today, we can all agree change is necessary. Regardless of our own beliefs, there is a practice that makes sense for everyone in every situation, being kind. Choosing kindness over hatred is always a winning choice, plus it benefits the giver and the receiver.

Kindness is a teachable skill and with practice, it can become an easy strategy to navigate life. Kind acts can become a habit with time. The idea that kindness is contagious makes sense when examined socially and scientifically. There is a plethora of research that has been done that examines the benefits of being kind. One simple reason to choose kindness is that it makes us feel good to be kind. Research shows that acts of kindness send messages to the brain that trigger our feel-good endorphins, creating a helper’s high.

Helper’s high is similar to an exercise high. This release of endorphins helps to lower our stress hormones.

By choosing kindness we can help boost our mood, lengthen our life, and improve our well being. Positive well being is measured by having more positive emotions than negative and feeling satisfied in most areas of our life. Kindness is a powerful tool that we can choose every day to show others we care and to increase our well being!

Kindness is often defined as being friendly, generous, and compassionate. As well as behaving in a way that shows others you care about them. There are opportunities to choose kindness that surround us all through the day; we just need to pay attention. Typically we are moving mindlessly through our day. By incorporating some mindfulness (attention) to what is happening around us, we can begin to open our eyes to ways we can choose to be kind.

Simple acts of kindness may range from donating to someone in need to helping someone pick up the blueberries they dropped at the grocery. When we pay attention to our surroundings, we can begin to see opportunities to be helpful. Learning to be kind begins with being kind to ourselves when we fail or make mistakes. We can find self-awareness as we work to create a more mindful way of functioning.

There are always opportunities to be kind and be the best version of us. Challenge yourself to do a random act of kindness and notice what happens. Remember we can always choose to be kind. Kindness breaks down barriers and builds bridges. Choosing to be kind does not mean we have to love everyone we meet; we just need to be kind and respectful to all humans.

Making a simple choice to be kind throughout the day will help create positive energy and positive connections with others. As we all embrace kindness and respect in our daily interactions, we can begin to create the much-needed circle of love. Kindness is contagious; pass it on!

Ann Stromberg

Ann Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor